No Writer Is an Island

Writing for Your Life is all about being part of a tribe or community of other authors who want to find true success, develop 1,000 true fans (at least), and feel a deep sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. But I’m going to share something you may find strange, and maybe it’s because my own spiritual journey has brought me to this undeniable conclusion—that if you just focus on yourself and yourself alone and striving to attain your goals, you will never be truly happy.

Did I just say that? Do I believe that?

Bah, Humbug!

Yes. Because I believe this speaks to the heart of human nature and the way we were created.  I believe we are not islands. We are meant to live and flourish within community. And I believe that the more we turn inward and think about ourselves, the more miserable we will be. Just like Dickens’s character Ebenezer Scrooge.  I’m sure you get what I’m saying. What happens to many authors as they start promoting their books, getting caught up in marketing, social networking, and obsessing over sales is soon they are counting the coins and grumbling “Bah, humbug!” It may seem outrageous to say that I also believe we were put here on earth to learn compassion, generosity, grace, and the joy of giving.

Writing for Your Life requires you care about others—and put out some effort to help them succeed. What? Why should I bother, you are probably asking. You might say, “I have no time to do that; I’m too busy trying to eke out an hour here and there just to promote myself.” Bah, humbug indeed! If you are now turned off and want to tune out, go ahead. Go count your stacks of coins in your lonely office and stare out the window at the falling snow—alone. Scrooge needed three ghosts to rattle some chains and wake him up to the fact that he lived in community with others—and he needed them as much as they needed him.

Turn and Face Outward

I can promise you this—you will find an unexpected joy in this paradigm shift as you watch your community of authors see successes with their novels, and some due to your efforts. There is great truth in the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do to you) and in the Scripture that says it is more blessed to give than receive. Regardless of your spiritual bent, most know the truth in the adage “You reap what you sow.” Or you maybe you believe in some sort of karmic balance in the universe (which is about the same principle) that says whatever you put out “there” will come back to you. There is something magical that happens when you turn your focus outward to help promote other authors, for it all comes back around to benefit you, your book, and boost your fan base and sales. And best of all, you will find true friends along the journey—fellow authors and loyal fans. What more could you truly want?

Who Should Leave the Room

If all you really want is to make money from your writing, then these types of communities are not for you. There is nothing wrong with that. Many writers see their writing career only as a means to make income and support their family. You may or may not have a passion for writing. But if that describes you, this concept is not for you. This community is for writers who have to write, who feel a strong passion about writing and see themselves as writing for life. Writing is their great love, and they want nothing more than to reach readers with their words, concepts, stories, expertise. They want this with all their heart. And they want to know how to go through year after year after year of rejections, bad reviews, flat sales, and other discouraging setbacks that threaten to rob them of joy or even make them ready to give it all up. We career writers need each other, and we need a creative framework that can bring us together and empower us individually and collectively.

Are you ready to forge new territory in this brave new world of publishing success? Then subscribe to this feed and over the year I’ll be talking about ways we can help each other, and direct you to some great online communities that are all about doing this. We’ll look at writing communities that are thriving and doing great things to promote their books and those of others. Watch for next week’s guest post from Melissa Foster with World Literary Cafe.

10 Responses to “No Writer Is an Island”

  1. Rex Owens March 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I have subscribed for several weeks and thoroughly enjoy and am inspired by your thoughtful, reflective posts. Rarely do I find myself so completely agreeing with a life viewpoint or paradigm. However, I find myself in complete alignment with this post and am pleased to be a part of Write,Live, Thrive.

    • cslakin March 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

      Thanks so much, Rex. I hope you enjoy the year’s journey and tell your friends!

  2. Tom Carson March 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    After reading the obligatory dozens of “how to write” books many years ago, one hopes they know how to do it! Well, I have been saving each “LIVE, WRITE & THRIVE” emails. They are insightful and Susanne’s smooth way of informing is wonderful. Thanks so much for being here for the rest of us!

    • cslakin March 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

      Thanks so much! Tell your friends!

  3. Lae March 6, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    I think it’s good for writers to share and mingle with like-minded people, however, I don’t think it’s beneficial to share mindlessly. Thoughtful sharing can lead down the success path. Mindless sharing can only lead to stress and hindrance from those who can’t/won’t understand.

  4. Patricia Woods March 6, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Thank you for the inspiration today. Yesterday I felt the difficulty of being alone all day at the computer. This is a wonderful community for writers. I would love to find a local group of writers who want to meet face to face over coffee once in awhile. Meanwhile, you are all providing sustenance for the mind and heart. Thank you all for your generous sharing and time in the group. I am very thankful that I found this site and community.
    Patricia

  5. cslakin March 6, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Thanks, Patricia, and I’m glad you are jumping in. We writers need to encourage each other and stop viewing other authors as the competition. We accomplish so much more this way and it’s a whole lot more fun enjoying the writing life.

  6. Linda A Janssen March 7, 2012 at 4:41 am #

    Agree absolutely; the concept of sharing and nurturing others in a community extends beyond writing as well. I’ve had the pleasure of learning from and being mentored by someone whose motto is to share, share, share. (In the mindful sense Lae, of course.) I’ve always ascribed to that, and I can tell you that for all the support I’ve done for others, I end up having such amazingly great things come back around for me, too. Glad to be a part of Writing for Life.

  7. heel lifts October 30, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.

  8. Elias November 2, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    There are three faithful friends – an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.

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